New data has revealed exactly how much Slough Borough Council has spent on pay-outs to their former council workers, writes James Bagley.

The TaxPayers’ Alliance, a right-wing pressure group which campaigns for more transparency from government, released a report showing nearly 7,000 agreed settlements between local authorities across the UK and ex-employees from 2016-2019, totalling to at least £98 million.

Slough Borough Council has spent £313,370.69 overall on settlement agreements involving 12 former employees with an average settlement of over £26,000.

The highest amount the council paid for “golden goodbyes” was £166,732.60 in 2016-17 with four pay-outs to former workers.

Darwin Friend, researcher at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Though settlement agreements are sometimes necessary, councils need to remember that it’s ratepayers who foot the bill.

“These settlements have been signed at the same time that the vast majority of local authorities have increased council tax, meaning some have spent huge sums on hush money while hiking up local rates.

“Given that almost 50 councils have managed to spend nothing on these deals, it should be perfectly possible for those paying the most to do better and keep down the costs of individual golden goodbyes.”

A spokesperson for Slough Council said: “Settlement payments include pension contributions, redundancy payments as well as any wages earned by the individuals in the relevant financial year and we only pay what is required by law.

“Each year relevant settlements are reported in the council’s statement of accounts which is published on the council’s website.”